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Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Image 1 contributed by U.K
photographer Bill Edwards.
Also known as the Rock Grayling
Image 2 contributed by U.K
photographer Michael Smith.
The grayling lives in dry, warm habitats with easy access to the sun, which helps them regulate body temperature.
They are the largest of the UK browns, and they are a master of disguise.
They are fairly conspicuous when in flight, but can mysteriously disappear as soon as they land, because they are perfectly camouflaged against a background of bare earth and stones.
They always rest with wings closed.
When they first land, and when disturbed, they will raise their forewings for a second or so, revealing dark eye spots that stand out against a beautiful spectrum of browns.
This butterfly also has a curious technique for regulating body temperature.
They will change the angle of their wings as they rest, to catch the proper amount of sunlight to keep their body temperature at its optimum.
They form discrete colonies and while some colonies are inland, their overall distribution would suggest that this is primarily a coastal species, at least in the British Isles.
Their dorsal side is tan with copper, edged in white, with several eyespots.
Their ventral side is dark brown with eyespots.
Their bodies are brown.
They are found throughout Europe.
* There are 6 named sub-species occurring within the British Isles.
** The Grayling has suffered severe declines and is therefore a priority for conservation efforts.
*** The Grayling is now identified on the Red List of British Butterflies as Endangered.
Avg. wingspan: 54 - 62 mm / 5.1 – 6.2 / 2 – 2.44 “
Adult diet: several plant species
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
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